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While in Exeter, UK our twenty person study abroad team researched the current state and future vision of gardening allotments from the perspective of those who rent plots. Although allotment structures differ across the globe, Exeter allotments include plots of city-owned land rented to residents for growing produce. Some private allotments exist but they are an anomaly and were not explored in our research. Allotments are distributed across the city, accessible only to tenants with key access and may include 15 to 200 plots.
As part of our exposure to the many faces of sustainability, the ASU Sustainability Across Morocco Study Abroad group visited the AZLAG Dagger Cooperative in the village of Kelaat M´Gouna, Morocco. Our professor learned of this cooperative through an ASU Global Technology & Development alumnus who had worked with the dagger cooperative during his time in the Peace Corp in Morocco. The alumnus did a project on how social media could help the cooperative increase their business. At his suggestion, the president of the cooperative traveled to Arizona for the Tucson Minerals and Gem Show. Our professor, who had met the coop’s director when she took the 2013 Morocco Study Abroad group to visit the cooperative, was now able to return the favor by translating for him at the Gem Show. This was just one of many examples of the global interconnectedness of the ASU network, which enabled our group to have such an immersive experience.
The last few weeks we have spent in England. For a while we were in Exeter, then we moved to Bristol and then finally we ended up in London. That was an amazing experience. The contrast of English priorities as discovered by our research is quite different than Danish priorities. We discovered that the Danes have community gardens more for the social connections as well as the enjoyment of being in a green space. The English on the other hand have a strong history of food producing allotments and that is the main function of their urban agriculture. Both ideals increase resilience of the cities as well as the citizens.
I am writing this in the Portland airport after my 11 hour flight from Frankfurt and am sitting in the airport café still trying to process the last six weeks. I am starting to realize that everything that I have done in these last two months won’t truly settle in for a long time…
Being the youngest student on this study abroad trip, I was worried that I may not have had the capacity to be able to perform on this trip adequately, but this research has allowed me to feel more confident in myself and my abilities. I feel already that I have grown so much on this trip in my academia, compassion and in my world views. All of the experiences that I have had and the initiatives that I have made have enabled me to mature in these areas.
While in Exeter, UK our twenty person study abroad team researched the current state and future vision of gardening allotments from the perspective of those who rent plots. Although allotment structures differ across the globe, Exeter allotments include plots of city-owned land rented to residents for growing produce. Some private allotments exist but they are an anomaly and were not explored in our research. Allotments are distributed across the city, accessible only to tenants with key access, and may include 15 to 200 plots.
Greetings! We have been in Bristol for about 2 days now, and before that we were in Exeter. Exeter was the busiest of all of the places we have been. We went into the allotments within the city with two days to collect data and got 180 surveys! That is amazing! We took all the data from the surveys and compiled it into a presentation for our stakeholder, Dan. Dan oversees all of the allotments in the town of Exeter (they actually call him Dan the Allotment Man) and he was very interested in what we had to say about the data collected, recommendations that we had and the people in the allotments. He thanked us for our presentation and case brief that we provided him with afterwards and then we packed to leave for Bristol!
I have been abroad for three weeks now and man has it been fun. My people from back home feel like distant relatives and the people I am surrounded by have become just like family. I’m really grateful for the people I’ve gotten to know and all the things I’m discovering.
Our group has been in Aarhus now for about a week and a half. To get here we took a four hour bus ride over the North Sea from Copenhagen. We are staying in Aarhus University guesthouse accommodations and are meeting all kinds of new people. I have made many friends from all over, people studying anywhere from Harvard University to a university in Istanbul, Turkey!
I have been so busy with research since I have been here. Every day is a new adventure and I come home every night ready for sleep! I have been traveling to all different types of urban gardens and allotments, meeting people that manage and work in them. I have also been meeting with different architects, artists and professors for my independent research project. I cannot get over how much I am learning. So much information that I would never be able to learn in a classroom.
While in Copenhagen my study abroad team surveyed and interviewed people involved in urban agriculture. We studied urban gardens with a diverse array of characteristics including for-profit and non-profit, school rooftops with limited accessibility and private apartment courtyards, and public parks accessible to all. We had the opportunity to explore these gardens through guided tours where we tasted, smelled, touched and heard the ecosystem. Through structured research, mindful observations and casual conversations with urban agriculture stakeholders we compiled a portrait of urban agriculture in Copenhagen. We only were able to interact with five urban gardens on an in-depth level and there is no accurate count of how many gardens currently exist in the city so our findings are not statistically significant. However, we collected interesting data and stories that appeal to the urban human condition.